Not Quite A Lady

Written by Loretta Chase
Review by Margaret Barr

In girlhood, bearing a child in secret was the price Lady Charlotte Hayward paid for her seduction by an unscrupulous suitor. Knowing the hidden stain upon her family’s honor, she vows never to marry and lives in contented seclusion at her father’s country estate. The sudden acquisition of a new neighbor, a nobleman’s son, interests her not at all. Darius Carsington is an experience-hardened rake with a reputation as a progressive scholar. By his father’s decree, he can preserve his bachelorhood only by turning a derelict country estate profitable. If he fails to do so within a year, he must take a rich wife.

Charlotte is drawn into Carsington’s orbit when her stepmother advises him on household management. Through regular encounters, the couple comes to rely on one another for honesty, amusement, and eventually passionate stimulation. Just as Darius discovers he’s found the one and only female to whom he can commit, he learns that Charlotte will not marry. Together they must also withstand the jealous and potentially disastrous machinations on the part of her jealous, determined suitor.

Chase’s lovers are captivating; they possess depth and flaws. Her skillful plotting ensures a lively pace, and she explores Regency-era English country life and ways in a reliable fashion, adding interest to a standard but quality historical romance.